We’ve talked about the treasure trove of classic games that is The Internet Archive before, but it appears to be the browser gift that keeps giving with hundreds of new retro games being recently added.
This time the original platform of the games being added is the Apple II, Apple Computers’ first consumer product introduced in 1977. The collection consists of 638 games, all of which have been uploaded by anonymous user (or users) 4am. I’m not entirely familiar with all of the games Apple II had to offer, but I do recognise some of the more obvious titles like Pac Man, Ms Pac Man, Donkey Kong, Conan, and the ever wonderful Frogger. But the reason you should really want to go and check out this archive is to have a look at some of the more obscure weird and wonderful titles that have been recovered and uploaded.
The story behind the Apple II archive is an interesting one and it sounds like putting the collection together has been a real labour of love for 4am. A post on The Internet Archive’s blog explains that the user’s aim has been “to track down Apple II programs, especially ones that have never been duplicated or widely distributed, and remove the copy protection that prevents them from being digitized.”
Many of the original Apple II games on floppy disks went to surprising lengths to try and prevent any copyright infringements including modifying the performance of the floppy drive, or forcing the Apple II’s operating system to rewrite itself. This means that many of the original games for Apple II have either been lost and forgotten because no one was willing to go to the effort of hacking them, or they only exist in their hacked and modified forms.
4am intends to avoid the loss of as many games as possible by breaking their copy protection and uploading them to The Internet Archive. They’ve even extensively documented the process of cracking the codes on these games, detailing what was done to make the title playable.
The project has been going for years, but it’s now passed a significant milestone. If you want to feast your eyes and test your skills on some obscure Apple II games that have been brought to you with care and dedication, now is a good time to have a look.